The three-game trip to the west coast brought more than three losses in the W-L column; we lost another player (Stacey Dales) to a serious injury.
In the 86-73 loss to Seattle on June 7th we trailed by just one point after the third period during which our athletes played with confidence that seemed to make all the difference on the offensive end of the court. Bernadette Ngoyisa tied the game high 8 rebounds and tied teammate Candice Dupree with her 16 points in just over 23 minutes of play. Amanda Lassiter posted the game high in assists with 6. Points in the fourth period seemed more difficult to find than they did in the third, allowing Seattle to lock in the win.
Game two of our road trip brought us to the Staples Center in Los Angeles. This game was a battle on both ends of the court. We had four athletes put up double digits in scoring, led by Jia Perkins with 19, Dupree with 16, Deanna Jackson with 11, and Stacey Lovelace with 10. It is not that our team was outplayed, we simply did not get the ball to fall at key moments in the game. We trailed by three at the end of the third, but again had difficulty finishing the final period with the same intensity. This game gave the Sparks their second win over us this season.
The final game of the three-game road trip had us facing last seasons champion, Sacramento Monarchs, again. For the first time since our season opener against Charlotte we were winning the game after the first period. Despite the great game of Bernadette Ngoyisa and her double-double (11 points, 10 rebounds) along with Candice Dupree's 8-11 shooting for 17 points and Jia Perkin's 7-13 shooting for 17 points with another game high 7 assists we could not make up for a poor second period. The 26-16 scoring margin the Monarchs held in the second period seemed to be the difference in the 80-70 loss.
In the past three games our rebounding is even with our opponents. Our points on the board seem to be increasing as our athletes get more experience playing with one another. Our coaching staff is having trouble finding a starting lineup with key injuries to Chelsea Newton, who is still rehabilitating a left knee strain, Elaine Powell, who is still sidelined due to severe shin splints in both legs, and now Stacey Dales, who is out for 6 weeks due to a bone bruise in her knee. For more information on our player injuries check out the "Athletico Injury Report"
Come out Thursday, June 15, at 7 pm for the rematch with Seattle Storm and celebrate women's health awareness with University of Illinois Medical Center. Saturday we face San Antonio for the first time this season at 7 pm at the UIC Pavilion. Nikki McCray and Bernadette will get to see some of their former teammates.
Ready. Set. Soar.